Thousands participate in Palestinian ‘Day of Rage’ against US, Israel

Palestinian protesters during the Day of Rage near Ramallah on Tuesday November 26 2019  (photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)
Palestinian protesters during the Day of Rage near Ramallah on Tuesday November 26 2019.
(photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)
The protests came in the aftermath of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent announcement that settlements are not inconsistent with international law.

By Khaled Abu Toameh  | The Jerusalem Post  |  Nov 26, 2019

Israel has left the Palestinians with no choice other than ‘popular resistance.’
— Mahmoud Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday in protests against the US administration and Israel.

Scores of Palestinians were injured, mostly from tear gas inhalation and rubber bullets, during clashes with IDF soldiers in several parts of the West Bank, Palestinian sources said.

Organized by several Palestinian factions, including the ruling Fatah faction, the protests came in the aftermath of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent announcement that settlements are not inconsistent with international law.

Continue reading “Thousands participate in Palestinian ‘Day of Rage’ against US, Israel”

The problem with settlements is not that they are illegal. It’s that they are immoral

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Israeli settlement in the West Bank near Za’atara. (photo: Ralf Roletschek)
Settlements are not only an obstacle to peace and but violate the fundamental principle of human equality.

By Peter Beinart | Forward | Nov 19, 2019

… morally, the issue is not whether Jews have the right to live in the West Bank. It’s whether Jews have the right to live there under a different law than their Palestinian neighbors.

Yesterday the Trump administration said Israeli settlements in the West Bank don’t violate international law. That’s absurd. Among international lawyers, the consensus that settlements are illegal rivals the consensus among international scientists that humans contribute to climate change. As UCLA’s Dov Waxman has pointed out, the legal advisor to Israel’s own foreign ministry admitted that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention” after Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967.

But critics who condemn the Trump administration for disregarding international law are missing the deeper point. So are critics who condemn it for undermining the two-state solution.

Continue reading “The problem with settlements is not that they are illegal. It’s that they are immoral”

Trump crushes Palestinian hopes — again

A Palestinian boy sits on a chair as Israeli authorities demolish a school in the village of Yatta, south of Hebron, in the occupied West Bank, Jul 11, 2018. (photo: Hazem Bader / AFP / Getty Images)
The U.S. Middle East peace plan may be in a coma. But that hasn’t stopped Washington from handing major diplomatic victories to Israel.

By Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer | Foreign Policy | Nov 18, 2019

‘You now have a complete package of efforts to make a traditional solution . . . to the Israeli-Palestinian problem virtually impossible, at least for the remainder of the Trump administration.’
— Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar Aaron David Miller

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Monday that the United States no longer considers civilian Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands a violation of international law. The move represents a historic decision that reverses decades of U.S. policy and represents the latest in a raft of pro-Israeli moves that could effectively quash hopes for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The conclusion that we will no longer recognize as per se inconsistent with international law is based on the unique facts, history, and circumstances prevented by the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank,” Pompeo told reporters on Monday. He said that the decision does not mean the U.S. government is expressing views on the legal status of any individual settlement or “prejudging the ultimate status of the West Bank.”

Pompeo’s statement rolls back a 1978 State Department opinion that formed the bedrock of U.S. legal opinion on Israeli settlements, asserting that civilian settlements in the occupied territories are “inconsistent with international law.”

The decision marks the latest way in which the Trump administration has undercut Palestinian claims of statehood in favor of its closest historic ally in the Middle East, handing another political victory to embattled Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he struggles to stay afloat after failing to form a coalition government.
Continue reading “Trump crushes Palestinian hopes — again”

Zionism’s uneasy relationship with anti-Semitism

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The Israeli embrace of Christian evangelicals — whose plans for Jews are conversion or a fiery death — mirrors the warm relationship that Zionists had with antisemitic leaders in Germany and Italy.

By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | Nov 19, 2019

[Herzl] would declare in his foundational pamphlet that ‘the Governments of all countries scourged by Anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain [the] sovereignty we want’; and indeed that not ‘only poor Jews’ would contribute to an immigration fund for European Jews, ‘but also Christians who wanted to get rid of them.’
— Columbia University professor Joseph Massad

I grew up with a deep love for Israel, the redemptive, out-of the-ashes, kibbutz-loving, feisty little country that could do no wrong, fighting for its life in a sea of hateful Arabs and Jew-haters. I learned that Jews were a people dedicated to worship and the study of Torah and this identity kept us alive during the centuries of antisemitism in Europe. If I was not able to dedicate myself to the religiosity of my davening grandfather, tfillin and all, I understood that as a people, we were deeply committed to healing the world and working for social justice, an equally virtuous and inherently Jewish task. After all, we were naturally good, or as my mother explained, Jews bore the responsibility of being chosen for a uniquely positive role in this world.

As the decades passed, this mythology shattered against the hard rocks of reality. One of the most difficult contradictions I now face is understanding the perverse relationship between Zionism and antisemitism. I was sold the story that political Zionism developed as a response to antisemitism and as a modern, liberating movement in the backward Middle East. But in 1897 as modern Zionism was born, it adopted the trope of the diaspora Jew as a pale, flaccid, yeshiva bocher, a parasite, an eternal alien, a nebbish. That Zionism embraced the idea that this pathetic weakling (who was often to be blamed for antisemitism) needed to be Aryanized into the bronzed, muscular Hebrew farmer/warrior tilling the soil in the Galilee is a chilling realization. The evolution of Jews as a people who lived by Torah and its commandments into a biological race with distinct characteristics, (the money Jew, the ghetto Jew, the swarthy, hook-nosed Jew) mirrors the worst canards of anti-Semites, European fascists, and white supremacists.

Continue reading “Zionism’s uneasy relationship with anti-Semitism”

Eyes on Gaza: A report from Norwegian physician and activist Mads Gilbert

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Please join our brothers and sisters at Jewish Voice for Peace for webinar about the conditions in Gaza.
Date: Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019
Time: 8:00 – 9:00 pm ET
Location: Webinar
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, but must register
Event Details

Dr. Mads Gilbert has worked extensively in Gaza in al-Shifa Hospital starting with the 2008 Israeli assault and will be presenting a vivid, first-hand description of medical and humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip. Mads Fredrik Gilbert is a Norwegian physician, humanitarian, outspoken activist and politician for the Red Party. He is a specialist in anesthesiology and head of the emergency medicine department at the University Hospital of North Norway and Professor of emergency medicine at the University of Tromsø. He is the author of Eyes in Gaza and Night in Gaza.

More information here →

Don’t legalize the illegal

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Israeli settlers clash with Israel Police in West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, Nov 10, 2019. (photo: Hillel Mier / TPS)
International law has determined that the West Bank is governed as a territory captured in war, which makes it defined as a “belligerent occupation.”

By Gershon Baskin | The Jerusalem Post | Nov 20, 2019

The continuation of the settlement enterprise is Israel’s clearest expression that it is not willing to make peace with the Palestinians in any kind of equitable fashion.

I have some news for US President Donald Trump, and he may not like it, but here it is: Donald Trump is not the point of reference regarding international law. No unilateral declaration of the president or secretary of state of the United States of America can legalize the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli settlements are not only illegal under international law, they have been and will continue to be one of the main obstacles to reaching a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It should be no surprise to anyone, but since at least 1977, when the Likud first came to power, Israeli governments have consistently stated that one of the main purposes of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, especially those in the heartland of the West Bank along the central mountain ridge, is to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. From that perspective, the Israeli settlement enterprise has been extraordinarily successful.
Continue reading “Don’t legalize the illegal”

Criticize Israel? For Democratic voters, it’s now fair game

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party promoted his relationship with President Trump during his re-election campaign in September.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party promoted his relationship with President Trump during his re-election campaign in September. (photo: Ammar Awad/Reuters)
President Trump’s hawkish support of Israel has led many Democrats to question the United States’ relationship with one of its closest allies.

By Giovanni Russonello  |  New York Times | Nov 1, 2019

… a Pew survey conducted in April found that Jewish Americans were far more likely than Christians to say that Mr. Trump was ‘favoring the Israelis too much.’

Free tuition to public colleges? Just a few years ago it seemed unthinkable, but now it’s a popular proposal embraced by some leading Democratic presidential candidates.

Medicare for all? Same thing.

But what about foreign policy? Are Democratic voters moving to the left on world affairs, too?

There is at least one area in which the answer seems to be yes: the United States’ once-unquestionable loyalty to Israel.

Continue reading “Criticize Israel? For Democratic voters, it’s now fair game”

UN Security Council rebukes US on Israel settlements

The UN Security Council holds a meeting on the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, Wed, Nov 20, 2019, at United Nations headquarters. (photo: Mary Altaffer / AP)
“If we abandon international law, it will be the law of the jungle.”

By Edith Lederer | AP | Nov 20, 2019

‘Israeli settlement activities are illegal, erode the viability of the two-state solution and undermine the prospect for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.’
— Joint statement from the 10 non-permanent Security Council members

In a sharp rebuke to the Trump administration, the 14 other U.N. Security Council members on Wednesday strongly opposed the U.S. announcement that it no longer considers Israeli settlements to be a violation of international law.

They warned that the new American policy undermines a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The council’s monthly Mideast meeting, just two days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement, was dominated by negative reaction to the new American policy from countries representing all regions of the world who said all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Continue reading “UN Security Council rebukes US on Israel settlements”

Trump is systematically ending the viability of a future Palestinian state

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An Israeli settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. (photo: Hazem Bader / AFP / Getty Images)
The Trump administration’s announcement about Israeli settlements was just the latest draconian measure targeting Palestinians.

By Joshua Leifer | The Guardian | Nov 19, 2019

This kind of refusal to enforce the overwhelming international legal consensus on Israeli settlements has been a hallmark of US policy on Israel-Palestine. Pompeo’s announcement is, without doubt, a step beyond what previous administrations were willing to consider. But the difference between this decision and previous US decisions to disregard international law is a difference of degree, not kind.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement on Monday — that the US will no longer consider Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories a violation of international law — is, in many ways, a near-perfect encapsulation of the Trump administration’s approach to Israel-Palestine.

Couched in grotesque doublespeak, it claims to advance “the cause of peace” while signaling US approval of Israel’s brutal, perpetual military rule over the roughly 3 million Palestinians living in the West Bank. It is part and parcel of the Trump administration’s ongoing, concerted efforts to undermine international legal frameworks for addressing human rights violations (and not just in Israel-Palestine). And it is yet more proof, not that more was needed, that the Trump administration is actively pursuing a post-two-state-solution agenda. Continue reading “Trump is systematically ending the viability of a future Palestinian state”

Lecture and Discussion: Palestine Refugees in Lebanon

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Please join our brothers and sisters at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Kirkland WA for a lecture and discussion about Palestine refugees in Lebanon.
Date: Sunday, December 8, 2019
Time: 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, 10021 NE 124th St, Kirkland WA
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

Abby Brook, a graduate student of Middle East Studies of the American University of Beirut, will share her first-hand knowledge of the history and current conditions of Palestine Refugees in Lebanon followed by a Q&A session.  Abby has worked with several organizations advocating for human rights, justice, and peace for Palestinians.

More information here →